The Outlaws

Los Hombres Malo

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Unfortunately, the popularity of Southern rock was starting to fade by the early 1980s, the success of 38 Special being a rare exception. The Outlaws released Los Hombres Malo (Spanish for "The Bad Men") in 1982, and it was the Florida band's last studio album for Arista. By this time, the band had been whittled down to a quartet, so it lost its classic three-guitar attack. Vocalist/guitarist Hughie Thomasson, vocalist/guitarist Freddie Salem, bass guitarist/vocalist Rick Cua, and drummer David Dix still put up a decent fight on Los Hombres Malo, but cracks in the armor were beginning to show. The hard rock edge Salem brought to the Outlaws is still evident on "Don't Stop," the rumbling leadoff track. Thomasson's "Foxtail Lilly" is another example of a buoyantly melodic tune with a fierce outro jam -- something of an Outlaws trademark. "Rebel Girl" is easygoing, album-oriented rock (AOR). Salem's "Goodbye" is clean and pop-oriented, but the Outlaws' country/cowboy roots and image appear in the form of Jesse James-oriented lyrics and Thomasson's banjo licks. "Back From Eternity" relies heavily on tempo changes, distinctive guitar parts, and Cua's bass melody. Country-pop is the best description of "Won't Come out of the Rain." Los Hombres Malo has respectable moments, but the clear sign the Outlaws were headed for trouble is the use of several outside songwriters such as Jim Peterik and Sammy Hagar. Only two reasons cause this practice: The record company wants hit singles, or the band is running out of gas creatively, sometimes a combination of both. The Outlaws broke up after Los Hombres Malo but reunited -- with original vocalist/guitarist Henry Paul back on board -- and released Soldiers of Fortune four years later.

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